Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Text Analysis: Give Me Liberty Or Give Me Death

1.    What is the author arguing?
In his speech, Patrick Henry criticizes the acts of Great Britain claiming that they were not done for love, but for power. He stated that Britain was treating them as inferior and not equals as they should have been. He managed to convince Virginia that they acts to gain peace had not worked and they would continue to not work. The only solution Henry saw was to go into battle and to be strong and not give up. The only way they could conquer Britain and gain peace was to be active and show Britain that they mean business and are stronger and more equal than they thought. Henry’s philosophy was that in order to gain peace, they had to go into battle.

2.    How does the author appeal to logos (logic), pathos (emotional quality), and ethos (the writer’s perceived character) with their argument?
Patrick Henry appeals to logic because he states all the things Britain has done wrong, he states that they have done nothing but put the down and make themselves superior to others and he talks about how the strength and activeness of a battle will show Britain that they mean business and that they don’t plan on backing down until they get the peace and equality that they’re looking for. Henry appeals to emotional quality by bringing up how the acts of Britain have not only left him feeling mistreated and inferior, but a lot of other people as well. These pathos convince all the people listening that they feel that way as well which sways them over to his side. To me, Henry seems like a very strong willed man who wants what’s best for people. He is a fighter and a peacemaker wrapped up into one. He didn’t want to go to battle simply for the joy of bloodshed, but to give the people what they needed.

3.    What is the historical significance/relevance of this document?
This speech was very strong and caused quite a stir to all the people who had witnessed it. It seems that a lot of people agreed with him too because the Battle of Lexington and Concord started barely a month after Henry gave his speech. That battle was the first event that was sort of the kick-off to the Revolutionary War. So it could be that if Henry never made this speech, the war would have never happened, or at least it would have happened much later.

4. Do you find the author’s argument convincing? Why or why not?
            It’s hard for me to answer this question because obviously the speech worked: We went into battle and eventually we did regain freedom and equality for the most part. However, if I were to have heard this speech when it was first made in 1775, I probably would not have been convinced that battle was the solution to peace and equality. The points he made were valid though, and it was strong and made people think. So I actually have to say that he was very convincing because this speech had and still has the power to persuade people to agree with him. 


  1. Good job on your text analysis. I enjoyed reading interpretation of Patrick Henry’s “Give Me Liberty or Give Me Death” speech. Just reading the speech, I liked how passionate and fiery, he was with regards to the situation with Britain. I agree with your analysis, that Henry felt that Britain has done wrong, and British wanted to feel superior. That was my same viewpoint, it just seemed like British did whatever they wanted, and never cared about the colonists. Definitely, I agree, Henry meant business that they were backing down, and wanted to show the British, they aren’t going to take it. Anyways, I enjoyed reading your analysis, I think you did a good job talking about Henry, and talking about his strong personality.